Eating for longevity: You can extend your life with the foods you eat

2013-03-15T04:45:00Z Eating for longevity: You can extend your life with the foods you eatDOLLY A. BUTZ dbutz@siouxcityjournal.com Sioux City Journal

There are good things in real food, according to Nancy Rosston.

Corn, often cast off as a starchy grain, the Mercy Medical Center clinical dietitian said has many health benefits. Lutein, a carotenoid vitamin that corn contains, helps protect your vision.

Dark-colored berries, she said, are known to boost brain functioning. Studies have shown that blueberries improve memory in adults at risk for developing dementia.

"There are so many other nutrients in the food that usually we don't even know about," Rosston said. "We don't know exactly how they work."

What we do know is that what put into our body effects our organs, muscles, bones and ultimately our longevity, according to Rosston. She said studies suggest that limiting our food intake and consuming fruits, vegetables and whole grains is key.

Whatever your age, Rosston said it's never too late to reap the benefits of healthy eating habits. Cutting down on processed foods and adding fruits and vegetables to their diet, she said, will likely lead some to feel better overall.

"It's not too late, you might not get the full benefit of somebody who's eaten it for 50 years before you started," she said. "If nothing else, you're going to get the immediate benefits."

BRAIN - Fish oil from fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines, boost brain functioning. Even canned tuna, Rosston said, is beneficial. Other brain foods include deep-colored berries - blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and Concord grapes. Nuts also keep the brain sharp.

TEETH - Foods containing Calcium and Vitamin D, will keep teeth strong. Vitamin C deficiency, Rosston said, is linked to gum disease. She recommends limiting mushy foods and eating more things that exercise your mouth by making you chew.

BONES - Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K and Magnesium are important for bone health. Eat a leafy green salad. Top it with an oil-based salad dressing to help your body absorb these fat soluble vitamins. 

HEART - Emphasize fish oils and Omega-3 fatty acids. Encourage soluble fibers from grains such as barely and oats. Increase intake of healthy fats that are monounsaturated - olives, avocados and nuts.

EYES - Eat your carrots. Beta-carotene in orange-colored foods, Rosston said, is good for your eyesight. Lutein, found in green vegetables, corn and egg yoke, is also beneficial for your sight.

MUSCLES - Seek out good quality proteins: lean meat, tofu, soy nuts, edamame (green soybean). Avoid processed lunch meats and sausages. Other sources of protein include dairy products, such as Greek Yogurt.

SKIN - Essential fatty acids in small quantities (olives, nuts and avocados) along with adequate fluids will keep your skin healthy. "If we don't stay hydrated, we are going to put the skin more at risk for breaking down and potential infection," Rosston said.

COLON - Red meat in small quantities is OK, according to Rosston, even though she said it is harder to digest than other proteins. Soluble fibers including oats, she said will help nourish healthy bacteria in the large intestine. Yogurts with live cultures are also good for the colon.

KIDNEYS - Limit cholesterol-rich foods. Foods essential for a heart-healthy diet, Rosston said, are good for the kidneys. "Watch out for too much processed foods, because our kidneys have to get rid of these extra byproducts of what we eat," she said. Hydration is key to flush out waste products. Cranberry juice for some people, Rosston said, can help deter the growth of bacteria that cause infections. 

PANCREAS - Watch your in-take of alcohol and high-fat foods. "The pancreas has a number of roles. One is to digest foods," Rosston said.

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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